EU must show leadership and clear ambition at COP26, say MEPs

The world’s desperate attempts to avert a climate catastrophe – and, in particular, what world leaders are prepared to contribute to it – will be focused in Glasgow over the next two weeks, at the COP26 climate conference.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be present on behalf of the EU, visiting Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday.

At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, von der Leyen called the weekend’s G20 climate talks in Rome a “stimulating” moment for Glasgow, which will need to show leadership among the twenty most advanced economies of the world, responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.

This leadership will have to be manifested mainly by resuming the delayed commitment of climate finance made in 2009, to provide, by 2020, 100 billion dollars per year to the least developed and most vulnerable countries to help adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change.

According to the latest estimates, the actual figure recorded is at least ten percent below the target.

There are two other main tasks for COP26: agreeing on commitments to reduce emissions enough for the 2015 Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C, which currently appears to be out of reach, and finalize the settlement implementation of the agreement.

These relate to common timetables for measuring progress and voluntary cooperation such as broader emissions trading systems.

“The European Parliament adopted its COP26 position during the last plenary, and will send an official delegation of fifteen members from all political groups, led by the Chairman of the Environment Committee (ENVI), Pascal Canfin (FR, Renew ). The delegation will participate in the final phase of negotiations between November 8 and 12 “

The European Parliament adopted its COP26 position during the last plenary, and will send an official delegation of fifteen members from all political groups, led by the Chairman of the Environment Committee (ENVI), Pascal Canfin (FR, Renew) . The delegation will participate in the final negotiation phase from November 8 to 12.

The other delegate of the Renew group, Nils Torvalds, told Parliament magazine that “to achieve the result that the whole world needs from the Glasgow climate conference, the EU must be ready to show leadership with clear ambitions ”.

He continued: “With the resolution, which the European Parliament passed in plenary last week, we sent the message that we are up to the task.”

One of Parliament’s most important goals is to convince the conference that all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out as soon as possible.

The Greens / ALE group leader, Bas Eickhout, said in a press release after the adoption of the EP resolution that COP26 “must be about immediate action”.

“To stay in line with climate goals, exploration and development of new oil and gas fields must stop now. However, since the Paris Agreement, fossil financing has only increased ”, he argued.

The ENVI Vice President added that “even after pledging to phase out fossil subsidies, G20 members still provide at least three times as much international public funding for fossil fuels as for clean energy. It must stop. It is high time we put our money where our mouth is.

“Even after pledging to phase out fossil subsidies, G20 members still provide at least three times as much international public funding for fossil fuels as they do for clean energy. This must stop. It is high time that we put in our money where our mouth is ”The main delegate of the COP 26 of the Verts / ALE group, Bas Eickhout, MEP

For the EPP Group, Head of Delegation Lídia Pereira underlined the need to bring other big economies to follow where the EU is currently leading with its Green Deal and Climate Act:

“No one should be left behind. We want other countries like China, the world’s second largest economy, to set more ambitious emission reduction targets and reduce its dependence on coal ”. The Portuguese socialist concluded: “Europe is moving from words to actions, we want everyone to do the same”.

S&D Group delegate and ENVI coordinator Jytte Guteland in her post-resolution press release expressed her Group hopes that this time things will happen: “After years of obstacles and setbacks, we can ultimately be optimistic in our struggle to honor the Paris Accord. “

The Swedish Social Democrat concluded, with China pledging to climate neutrality by 2060, and a new “progressive” President in the White House “COP26 in Glasgow must be a turning point not only in words but also in the concrete reduction of emissions ”.

One of the EU initiatives at COP26 announced Thursday by von der Leyen is the launch, with US President Biden, of a global commitment on methane: “As part of this commitment, we commit to reducing methane emissions of at least 30% by 2030 ”.

Von der Leyen explained that “if you look at greenhouse gas emissions, methane is the easiest fruit to hook”.

Perhaps his collaborators had studied the post-resolution press release from Martin Hojsik of the Renew Group who wrote:

“We want the fruits at hand of climate protection to be picked now, otherwise they will rot the whole crop.” Methane is such a low fruit.

The Slovak liberal explained that “reducing methane is a sure way to slow global warming in our lifetime. The world is working to mitigate methane and the EU must be the engine, not an observer. “

EPP ITRE coordinator Christian Ehler, however, underlined a crucial area for the green transition where the EU has yet to catch up with its transatlantic partner.

He told Parliament magazine that “just this summer the US Senate proposed to invest $ 250 billion over the next five years under US innovation and competition law.”

The German Christian Democrat concluded that “no matter how good the digital market law, the digital services law or the Fit for 55 package, our regulation cannot compete with such investments.”

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